High Performance Buildings

Course Information

The Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in High Performance Buildings presents a dynamic, interdisciplinary approach to graduate education, combining engineering, architecture and business.

Dive deep into the technical aspects of high performance building design with 60% of your courses delivered by the esteemed UBC Faculty of Applied Science. These courses are meticulously designed to advance your technical knowledge and prepare you for the complexities of the industry. Complementing your technical education, 40% of the curriculum is focused on business studies offered through the renowned UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School. This unique blend equips you with not only technical proficiency but also the critical business skills needed in today’s market.

Our program adopts the innovative flipped classroom format. Before attending classes, you’ll immerse yourself in the course material through independent study, including assigned readings and lecture videos. This preparatory work sets the stage for a highly interactive classroom experience. Here, you’ll engage in vibrant discussions, group projects, and hands-on activities like case studies and experiments. This approach ensures a deeper understanding and application of knowledge, fostering a more enriching learning experience.

Course Overview

UBC MEL in High Performance Buildings Courses

Winter term: January to April

HPB 501: Green Building Contemporary Practice

This course provides an overview of green contemporary building design, including indoor environments, waste water systems, energy systems and lighting to achieve enhanced building environmental performance and integrate green building principles, strategies and technologies.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the environmental consequences of building and what constitutes best current practice in green building policy and design.
  • Assess the role of building assessment tools in market transformation and advancing building code performance.
  • Understand the process of identifying building performance metrics and targets and the policy mechanisms to achieve successful implementation.
  • Analyze emerging priorities of key green building design strategies and technologies and their integration to achieve multiple benefits.

HPB 504: Building Energy Systems and the Indoor Environment

The indoor environment is determined by the outdoor conditions, building envelope, and the “machinery” inside the building. The course will focus on this “machinery” which is the heart of building systems. You will learn about heating and cooling load estimation, heating and cooling systems using solar, electrical and fossil energy, air, water and refrigerant distribution systems and energy storage.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Specify appropriate indoor environmental parameters with respect to thermal, health, acoustical and light standards.
  • Identify the major components and characteristics of HVAC equipment in conventional and green building systems, solar, wind and cogeneration systems.
  • Develop schematic designs of energy systems, including renewables, that suit the energy demand patterns of different types of buildings.
  • Outline a control strategy for building energy and ventilation services.
  • List and describe the distinguishing features and scope of the key industry standards affecting building design.

APPP 503: Organizational Leadership

Understand the behaviour of people and groups and how this applies to management and leadership within professional organizations. This course explores motivation, group dynamics, organizational structure, leadership styles and tools for assessing organizational effectiveness. The course is collaboratively delivered with the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Apply theoretical principles of leadership and organization behaviour in a variety of organizational contexts and industries.
  • Diagnose organizational behaviour and people management challenges and find solutions that deliver business results and ensure employee engagement.
  • Understand what it takes to build effective manager-employee relationships, given the realities of power, motivation and commitment in an organizational setting.
  • Develop and present recommendations for organizational leadership challenges using the case study analysis approach.

BAEN 540: Strategy & Innovation

This course provides an introduction to the principles and frameworks of strategic management, as well as concepts surrounding the creation or expansion of innovation capabilities, within organizations. Strategic management involves analysis, planning and execution of initiatives that achieve objectives in support of organizational goals. Innovation generally involves the development of revolutionary new or evolutionary improvements to existing ideas, methods, products, services, or combinations thereof that are adopted. The course will also consider the changing nature of organizational strategy and innovation in an environment of increasing globalization, digitization and automation. Entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship will be recurring themes throughout the course. The course will emphasize actionable lessons and models that students, regardless of their professional or academic backgrounds, can apply in practice to create tangible and valuable outcomes across organizational types, growth stages, and industries.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

    • Understand strategic decision making and organization innovation processes.
    • Analyze business situations using relevant concepts and tools.
    • Understand business approaches for managing strategy and innovation programs and projects.
    • Create and present plans for solutions to organizationally important challenges.
    • Communicate effectively about planning and delivering on strategy and innovation.

APPP 505: Analytics & Interpretation for Applied Sciences

Professionals who can manage analytics and “big data” are highly sought after by companies across the world. This course will provide students with the opportunity to identify, interpret and utilize key analytics from real-world data sets. Graduates will feel comfortable with the latest data collection methods, measurement and presentation tools, be able to interpret data and identify trends, and understand the role of big data and predictive analytics across several different industries.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Discuss data analytics and data visualization principles and methods.
  • Design and develop interactive visualizations and dashboards using Tableau.
  • Use advanced features and functionalities of Tableau.
  • Present and communicate analysis findings to different target audiences.
  • Understand how to clean and transform different kinds of data to facilitate exploration and analysis
  • Design and develop interactive visualizations and dashboards using Tableau.
  • List use cases for effective visual analytics.
  • Recognize issues related to ethics, privacy, governance, provenance and integrity when working with data.

Summer term: May to August

HPB 503: Whole Building Modelling and Simulation

This course explores modelling energy in a high-performance building, taking into account indoor space requirements, heat and mass transfer through building envelopes, climate as well as fenestration, daylighting and solar energy. The course covers major energy models in a context of low and net zero building design.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Learn the fundamental theories behind energy simulation software.
  • Understand the interactions of different building components on buildings’ energy performance.
  • Interpret simulation results for proper Quality Control and troubleshoot errors.
  • Model building performance using eQUEST energy modelling software.
  • Get familiar with the most commonly used building codes and standards including ASHRAE 90.1, 62.1 and 55 and NECB.

HPB 505: Capstone I – Greening an Existing Building

Students will analyze the performance and design data of an existing building and propose design changes to improve an existing building’s environmental impact through reduction of operational energy needs and Green House Gas emissions while considering the real priorities of the client, a building owner or operator. After this course, students will be able to use dynamic whole building energy simulations to improve the performance of an existing building and understand the role of a building performance engineer and/or “energy modeler” on building upgrades.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify reasons for energy underperformance of buildings.
  • Design and implement a solution to a significant open-ended problem in high performance building energy retrofit projects.
  • Document and present (using written, oral and visual means) the identification of the issues, modelling process used and the design proposed to remedy the building’s issues.
  • Evaluate or assess a solution to a problem in high performance building design, and compare with alternative approaches.
  • Function effectively in teams.

APPP 504: Business Acumen for Technical Leaders

An asset to the aspiring technical leader, business acumen is knowing how business works and applying that knowledge with the goal of business improvement. This course offers an elevated perspective of how technical skills contribute to building value in a business. The course immerses aspiring technical leaders in the practical application of core business skills and the development of six core business competencies, which are presented as modules: Managerial Accounting, Strategy and Performance, Market Evaluation, Operations Management, Negotiations and Contract Management and Business-Case Building and Valuation. This course is collaboratively delivered with the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Apply theoretical principles of business in a variety of contexts.
  • Analyze and discuss common business situations encountered by managers from multiple angles using the case study analysis approach.
  • Appreciate the importance of each of the functional areas, as well as the inter-connectedness of business decision-making.
  • Appreciate the importance of excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Understand the importance of effective team work and strong ethical standards in management.
  • Plan and present effective and meaningful presentations.

Fall term: September to December

HPB 502: Regenerative Development

This course will expose students to the theory, knowledge and skills that are essential in approaching projects through a regenerative design lens which prefaces placing living systems at the heart of decision-making. Students will work within interdisciplinary teams on assignments framed on real-world projects, offering a strong opportunity to address practical challenges along with other design professionals that come with a diversity of perspectives and specializations.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the range of environmental / ecological health performance levels achievable in current architectural and multi-disciplinary design practice.
  • Understand key issues and integration principles and technologies required for leading-edge, regenerative design and development.
  • Develop critical tools for the assessment and delivery of regenerative, climate positive projects.

HPB 506: Capstone Project II – New Building Design

Students will take a building that is under design and work with the designers to develop a high-performance energy system that meets energy-performance objectives.

UBC Sauder School of Business Courses

Students can choose a UBC Sauder Business Course to gain greater exposure to a particular area of interest. Options include (subject to change):

BASC 550: Operations and Logistics

This course will introduce students to the key concepts and tools needed to understand and effectively manage supply chains and business operations in general. A key concept in this course is the “business process”, and managing and improving such processes.

BAMA 519: Building Brand with Purpose

This course explores the core principles of branding within the context of social and environmental responsibility including healthcare, sustainability and human rights. Fundamental marketing strategies are reinforced as they relate specifically to: 1) non-profits, 2) social marketing designed to change society’s behaviour and 3) cause-related-marketing within thecorporate sector.

BA 563: Decision Making for Managers

This course is designed to make you a better decision maker by helping you understand your weaknesses and build on your strengths in decision-making. This is an integrative course that links material from Economics, Operations, Statistics, Marketing, Psychology, Finance, and Strategy.

*Course offering subject to change.

BAEN 580B: Special Topics in Business: Creative Destruction Lab

The Creative Destruction Lab Venture Program is a 3-credit course in entrepreneurship in which students will work with the Creative Destruction Lab West (CDL-West) team to help emerging technology and science focused start-ups. Students will become familiar with the CDL-West companies and will have the opportunity to support with market analysis, customer development, financial analysis, and other core activities related to building early stage start-ups. Students will be provided with visibility into how venture capitalists and angel investors make investment decisions.

APPP 502: Sustainability & Leadership

This course helps students build skills to lead change that influences the triple bottom line and explores concepts related to sustainability, change agency systems thinking, awareness and perspective for engagement and communication, adaptive leadership, and change dynamics. It also incorporates case studies in organizational and social change. This course is collaboratively delivered with the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Recognize tools, concepts, standards and frameworks used in sustainable business.
  • Analyze current realities, market opportunities and issues related to sustainability across a range of industries.
  • Integrate sustainability-related concepts into their own industry and/or personal experiences.
  • Synthesize, apply and communicate sustainability knowledge to one’s peers.
  • Apply various leadership concepts and tools into their professional practice, and in particular to sustainability-related initiatives.